Good progress on Chinese wine, lobster trade barriers, says Australia trade minister © Reuters. Australia’s Trade Minister Don Farrell attends a press conference following a meeting with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, in Beijing, China May 12, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool

By Lewis Jackson

SYDNEY (Reuters) – China will complete a review into years-long tariffs on Australian wine by the end of March and is also reviewing its restrictions on lobster imports, Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell said on Sunday.

Farrell said he was hopeful China would lift the tariffs of up to 218% on Australian wine, first introduced in 2021, once the review finished and that good progress was also being made in relation to the unofficial restrictions on lobster imports.

“That process () is coming to an end now and by the end of March that process will be completed,” he said on Sky News on Sunday. “The Chinese trade minister confirmed that to me the week before last.”

However, Farrell said Australia would not hesitate to resume a World Trade Organisation suit against the tariffs if China did not remove them after the review, which Beijing began last year.

China has been steadily lifting trade barriers put in place from late 2020 on a range of commodities including barley, wine, coal and lobsters. The restrictions were part of an escalating spat over foreign investment and security that boiled over when Australia called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19.

The wine tariffs and unofficial restrictions on lobster imports are among the few barriers left in place.

Farrell said the Chinese trade minister had also told him that a review into the lobster restrictions was also underway.

“As far as lobster is concerned … I got an understanding from the Chinese authorities that they are reviewing the issue of our lobster coming into China,” he said

“Everything is heading in the right direction.”


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